2013 Scion FR-S Coupe Review | Edmunds.com

2013 Scion FR-S Coupe

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Scion FR-S Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.0 L Flat 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 200 hp @ 7000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 22/30 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2013 Scion FR-S

  • A Edmunds Rating
  • The FR-S is not your friend's boxy Scion. Thanks to sleek styling, rear-wheel drive and sharp handling, the FR-S is one of the most appealing performance cars of 2013.

  • Safety | Rating Details
  • Pros

    Light and well-balanced chassis; excellent steering; high fuel economy; comfortable and spacious front seat; abundant standard features; distinctive styling.

  • Cons

    Small backseat and trunk; lack of navigation and other luxury options; relatively modest acceleration.

  • What's New for 2013

    The 2013 Scion FR-S is an all-new, rear-wheel-drive sport coupe co-developed by Toyota and Subaru.

Full 2013 Scion FR-S Review

What's New for 2013

The 2013 Scion FR-S is an all-new, rear-wheel-drive sport coupe co-developed by Toyota and Subaru.


When the Scion brand debuted in 2002, its mission was to appeal to young buyers with stylish cars boasting affordable pricing, abundant customization options and the promise of reliability backed up by the reputation of Toyota, its parent company. Largely missing from that mix, however, has been performance. Now, a decade later, all the right elements have been combined for the all-new 2013 Scion FR-S.

Co-developed with Subaru (which makes the twin of the FR-S, the Subaru BRZ), the FR-S ups the performance ante considerably above the Scion tC, the next sportiest car in the Scion family. The FR-S is powered by a 2.0-liter flat-4 ("boxer") engine that sends 200 horsepower to the rear wheels through either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. That's not a lot of power for a sporty car nowadays, and suitably, acceleration is merely acceptable. Yet, the FR-S's light weight, compact dimensions, low center of gravity, sublime steering and beautifully balanced chassis add up to enough fun that you won't mind when a Mustang V6 pulls away from you at a traffic light.

The FR-S cockpit is all business. Frivolous gee-whiz features -- such as Scion's typical flashy instrument displays and adjustable mood lighting -- are nowhere to be found. Instead, the driver faces an array of instruments dominated by a large tachometer, while both front occupants are held fast by aggressively bolstered sport seats. Of course, don't expect a large measure of multipurpose practicality from the compact coupe, as the rear seat and trunk are diminutive.

In terms of competition, the 2013 Scion FR-S has no direct rivals other than its Subaru twin. After all, affordable rear-wheel-drive sport coupes are few and far between. The Mazda MX-5 Miata is the closest in character to the FR-S, but if you prefer a rear-wheel-drive coupe, you'll have to step up to the more expensive Ford Mustang or Hyundai Genesis Coupe. Yet given its desirable qualities -- light weight and a responsive nature -- the 2013 Scion FR-S should be a thrill for driving enthusiasts looking for big kicks for small bucks.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2013 Scion FR-S comes in two trim levels: base and 10 Series. Standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, full power accessories, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, Bluetooth (with streaming audio) and a Pioneer eight-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, RCA output jacks, an auxiliary audio jack and USB/iPod integration.

The 10 Series further adds xenon headlights, front LED running lights, illuminated exterior badges, dual-zone automatic climate control, a frameless rearview mirror, an electroluminescent dashboard (it lights up with the word "Scion" when a door is opened), a 6.1-inch touchscreen sound system display and a solar-powered illuminated shift knob (automatic transmission only).

In keeping with Scion's marketing philosophy, in lieu of factory options there are a number of dealer-installed accessories that include foglights, a premium BeSpoke sound system (with touchscreen display and smartphone app integration) and various suspension and engine performance parts.

Powertrains and Performance

Under the FR-S's sleek hood is a 2.0-liter horizontally opposed "boxer" four-cylinder engine that makes 200 hp and 151 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels through either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters and rev-matched downshifts. A traction-enhancing mechanical limited-slip differential is standard and rather rare in this segment.

At the test track, a manual-equipped FR-S sprinted to 60 mph from a standstill in 6.5 seconds: fairly quick, if not as speedy as more powerful but heavier sport coupes. Testing of an automatic-equipped BRZ yielded a slower time of 7.9 seconds.

Fuel economy estimates are quite good and stand at 22 mpg city/30 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined for the manual and 25/34/28 for the automatic.


Standard safety features include antilock brakes (with brake assist), traction and stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags.

In Edmunds brake testing, the 2013 Scion FR-S came to a stop from 60 mph in 117 feet -- a short distance, though it's lower than average for a car with summer tires.

In crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety the FR-S received the highest possible rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side and roof strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

Scion has made few concessions to style for the FR-S's simple, businesslike cabin that blends Toyota and Subaru switchgear and materials. It's an environment that puts an emphasis on driving. Frankly, it will feel a bit spartan compared to some other sporty cars in its price range like the VW GTI, but then this is supposed to be a back-to-basics sort of driver's car.

In true Scion form, the base audio system is anything but basic, however, as it comes with a full assortment of media types and controls. It's also much easier to use than the frustrating touchscreen unit found in its Subaru BRZ twin, although Scion does not offer the Subie's navigation system and some other features.

The FR-S's front seats are supportive enough for hard driving, yet still comfortable for long-distance trips as well. People of just about any size should find the driving position to be quite agreeable, and thanks to the low-profile hood, there's an expansive view of the road ahead.

There's a backseat, too, but few humans are likely to want to sit back there. Legroom is next to nil, your head will be perilously close to the rear glass (or entirely pressed against it) and the center tunnel impedes hiproom. Trunk space is also rather small at 6.9 cubic feet, but folding down that mostly useless backseat expands cargo-carrying abilities considerably.

Driving Impressions

If you're the sort of driver whose car must be able to hammer down freeway on-ramps with its tires ablaze, the 2013 Scion FR-S is not for you. Its power is sufficient and nothing more. Instead, the FR-S is for those who get a thrill from going around corners and feeling all the nuances and inputs that go along with a car that offers phenomenal communication and impeccable control.

Its limits are approachable and easily controlled, which makes for a wonderfully engaging sports car. The brakes don't fade, the manual gearbox is a pleasure to shift and the chassis remains composed even when the road surface doesn't. The steering imparts the front tires' grip status precisely to the driver's hands, and even the available automatic transmission is programmed for enthusiastic driving.

Away from twisty roads and used for more mundane moments -- say, on the way to work or on a road trip -- this Scion is still rewarding. It's surprisingly easy to drive and the ride is sufficiently well damped. However, there is a fair amount of road noise that is especially evident on concrete-surfaced freeways.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

3 of 17 people found this review helpful

Overall very disappointing

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Scion FR-S 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 6M)

I have the 6 speed manual. There are 2 main problems with the car, the first being the severe lack of power. Scion claims this car has 200 HP, I beg to differ, it's lucky if it has 150. The acceleration is absolutely terrible, and the hesitation off the line makes the situation even worse. However, once it's in 3rd gear or later, it does get a little better. The other thing that bothers me about the car is the transmission grinds when shifting from 1st to 2nd, and from 2nd to 3rd. It doesn't happen every time, but happens enough to be severely annoying. The only redeeming quality of the car is the styling. It looks like a sports car, but that's where the similarity ends.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

So far great

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Scion FR-S 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 6M)

I had for a very long time an old porsche 928 s4. It was a amazing car, and I thrashed the crap out of it. It died a terrible death... The new Scion replaced it. The Sion is not nearly as fast, nor as flashy. But it is WAAAAY more fun. At every red light the little 4 gives it a mighty big BRAAAPPPP and off we go. The shift points are just pure joy. This is not a car that will set a new land speed record, or corner at speeds that make your brains turn to mush. BUT----It is a very fun car that is amazingly responsive. It puts a smile on your face driving in city traffic as its sure is a little street fighter. Its great on the highway and its MPG is amazing. The car has a real soul.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

Best driver's car

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Scion FR-S 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 6M)

Don't listen to everybody who berates this car. Those are the people who don't understand its purpose. After 10,000 miles through 6 states and Canada, I can tell you this car is great in every single circumstance. City, highway, straight road, twisty road, road course, etc. I can get 34mpg on the highway, and average 31mpg even with some autocrosses and track days sprinkled in. You can fit a 6' person in the back as long as the front passenger is willing to give up some leg room. I honestly test drove every single new car with a manual transmission under $25k and this was by far my favorite.

The most smiles per mile

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Vehicle: 2013 Scion FR-S 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 6M)

Purchased my Asphalt Grey FR-S 6-speed manual in June of 2012. Traded up from a 2002 WRx (original owner), and while I miss the all-wheel drive and turbo rush, my FR-S just makes me smile every time I'm behind the wheel. Mine is primarily used as a weekend fun car, and I argue that there is nothing out on the road today that is even close in price that makes you feel as connected to the pure, visceral driving experience as this $24K gem. The steering is easily controlled, the shifter is perfect and the engine grumble is nice (I'm a sucker for boxster engines). I would not use this as a daily driver, but as a second car, it is just perfect.

Easily one of the best

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Scion FR-S 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 6A)

I was looking for a fun sporty car as my daily driver and after doing my research I decided to test drive the FR-S. It is the perfect car for me (I'm 23) it is fun, fast, and so far reliable. The gas milage is also pretty good. I just have two complaints the first one is that I wish there were volume controls on the steering wheel the second is I wish it was called the Toyota 86 (like the rest of the world) but other than those two things I love the car and would reccomend it to anyone!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

Amazing car for the money

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Scion FR-S 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 6M)

Lucky for us, Toyota put this under the Scion brand so dealers cannot mark it up. I live in the Los Angeles area and cars still disappear from some dealers lots in a matter of a day or two. I did accept the fact that the dealer installed Lojack. Got mine in Asphalt Black (dark grey metallic, really) with the rear wing and TRD exhaust installed from the factory. I had test driven a car with the stock exhaust. While the TRD exhaust has a beautiful note, it makes it difficult to have a conversation with a passenger. Still, I would take the exhaust over stock. Seats are supportive and instrument gauges are perfect (very much like Porsche). Car reminds me of a Lotus - light, small, minimalist.

Talk About The 2013 FR-S

Read more about the 2013 Scion FR-S

Gas Mileage


  • 22
  • cty
  • 30
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

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